The following are a few of the many attractions in Budapest which will keep your children, if not your whole family, entertained.
There are two very well-equipped playgrounds very close to the apartment (see the map for location) with sandpits, baby and child swings, playhouses, climbing frames, etc. You’ll find great playgrounds in many other places in the city – you can easily stop there for a break when your kids have had enough of sightseeing. There are large ones in the City Park and on the Margaret Island.
Swimming and water parks
All spa baths have smaller warm pools for the little ones and we have a massive all year round water park called Aqua World just outside Budapest. It is an amazing place with many slides, wave pool, hot water pools, baby pools, surfing pool and so on. The restaurant has decent veggie options. There is a free shuttle bus from Heroes’ Square every hour. For detailed information please see their website.
There are plenty of open air swimming baths in Budapest and many have slides and other attractions for children. The biggest and closest is Palatinus on the Margaret Island, but we can also recommend Dagály, Római fürdő, Pünkösdfürdő and the Paskál Strand.
All in the City Park
The Zoo is actually a great place for all ages, with lovely protected buildings, big open spaces for the animals and lots of fun: you can feed the elephants carrots in the summer, which is a big hit among kids. You can rent a little cart and pull your children along, which they will love (but you might regret the idea after a while). You can buy animal feed and are allowed to feed some animals like the giraffes and the African goats at the petting zoo, which is another big hit. You can actually walk with your children amongst the goats, the baby llamas and the rabbits. Not only that, but there is also a big playground in the zoo, with baby-changing facilities and plenty of places to buy unhealthy snacks. Unfortunately the restaurant, though very cheap, leaves a lot to be desired by veggies. The main selection is chips and salad or sometimes pasta. But there are many picnic areas for your sandwiches if you don’t mind preparing in advance. It’s best to go on weekdays; it tends to be crowded at weekends.
The Amusement park is right next to the Zoo, it is only open in the summer or on weekends in warm weather. You’ll find a big ferris wheel there, roller coasters, dodgems and a lovely 100 year old carousel.
The Circus is also next door, which has shows regularly with local and international artists.
There is a great ice rink right behind Heroes Square from November till the end of February; naturally you can rent skates there. It is really a lovely experience, which I can recommend to everyone. Best to go in the morning, when the racing teenagers are at school.
The Museum of Transport (Közlekedési múzeum) is another favourite among children (and their dads too), with old and model trains, buses, cars and so on. They often have special shows at weekends.
Museums that tend to excite children
The Train Park is a bit outside downtown, but just walk down to Nyugati railway station and hop on the steam train to get there in style. If your kids (or partner) love trains then they will have a great time there.
The Palace of Wonders and the House of the Future are two science museums right next to each other in Milennaris Park (at Moszkva Ter, red metro). The Palace of Wonders is a hands on technical-science exhibition, where you can try hundreds of entertaining experiments like jumping on a Velcro wall or driving a car with rectangular wheels. Our niece’s favourite was the bed of nails, while mine is the Theremin. The House of the Future is a science museum with changing exhibitions. when we were there we enjoyed the Space and Mars exhibition, the psychological tests and James had the opportunity to get in a real cockpit and try a Boeing 737 simulator (the instructor was a first officer of Wizzair!).
You can spend a lovely day in the Buda Mountains using the Chair Lift and the Children’s Railway. The “Libegő” Chair lift runs from April and it is like a double ski lift. It leaves from Zugliget, at the terminus of the 291 bus which you can take from Nyugati railway station (timetable) and it takes you almost to the top of János hegy, which is the highest peak of Budapest. From there you can have a nice walk and take the Children’s Railway (timetable and info) which is a small gauge forest railway run by children They sell the tickets, inspect them, signal at the stations. only the driver is a grown-up. You can take the tram 56 from Moszkva Square to the Hűvösvölgy end or the Fogaskerkű (Cogwheelrailway) to the Széchényi-hegy destination. There is also a big playground there. If you get off at János-hegy you can walk up to the Erzsébet look-out tower, which is the highest point of the city (526 meters).